October is National Filipino American History Month. It's all about celebrating the history, heritage, culture, and achievements of Filipino Americans. Filipino American History Month commemorates the first presence of Filipinos ("Luzones Indios") in Morro Bay, California, on October 18, 1587. The late Dr. Fred Cordova, along with his wife, Dr. Dorothy Laigo Cordova, first introduced October as Filipino American History month in 1992.
In 2009, the U.S Congress officially recognized October as Filipino American History Month.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the First Young Filipino People's Far West Convention. The initial meeting took place in 1971 at Seattle University and brought over 300 young Filipino American participants to the West Coast, which folks consider as the beginning of the Filipino American movement.
During our season finale concert, Lift Every Voice: At The Table, last May, Premier Choir performed "America Will Be" by Joel Thompson, which features a line of Filipino text.
Concert Choir parent Lorenz Ponce shared in a social media post about what it meant to her hearing a line of Filipino text sung during the concert:
"This picture is a screenshot of my TV during Boston Children's Chorus season finale concert: At The Table.
I didn't really understand the fuss about representation in media until I heard this line sung repeatedly by two teenage boys. “Umaasa ako na may pagbabago” or translated in English "I hope there will be change." My heart leaped when I heard the lyric, and after the concert, I watched the song again to make sure, and there it was: Umaasa ako na may pagbabago.
And I felt joy. I felt relief. I felt heard, seen, and understood by one line in a song. To hear my native language in a concert stream was beautiful and empowering. Thank you, BCC, for including my language—a language not many people even know about —in this song. Umaasa ako na may pagbabago.”
To find ways to celebrate Filipino American History Month (FAHM) or learn more info about FAHM, visit http://fanhs-national.org/filam/.